Green Bay Packers (3-3) at Washington Commanders (2-4)
The Packers are a disappointing 3-3, but that’s not all that surprising. They won 13 games a year ago, but they finished just 10th in point differential and 11th in overall efficiency, despite an MVP season from Aaron Rodgers who, as good as he is, was no guarantee to play at quite the same level in 2022, now in his age 39 season. Add in the loss of by far their top wide receiver Davante Adams this off-season and some regression was to be expected from them, especially on offense.
In many ways, things have gone how you might expect, given the circumstances. The Packers’ defense has remained middling, ranking 17th in defensive efficiency in 2021 and 21st in 2022, but their offense has fallen off significantly, falling from 4th in offensive efficiency a year ago to 14th this season, while their horrendous special teams that ranked dead last efficiency a year ago has only been slightly better this year, ranking 30th.
All in all, the Packers rank just 20th in overall efficiency when adjusted for schedule, about 1.5 points below average, and my roster rankings tell a similar story, with the Packers about a half point below average. Last week’s performance was especially concerning, as they were largely uncompetitive against the Jets, losing by a final score of 27-10 and losing the first down rate and yards per play battles by 5.09% and 1.22 respectively, despite being at home, where they had previously won 15 straight regular season games and where they had previously been 47-20 ATS in games started and finished by Aaron Rodgers throughout his career.
The Packers still seem to be overrated though, favored by 5 points on the road in Washington, with this line barely moving from the early line a week ago. Washington did lose starting quarterback Carson Wentz for an extended period of time with injury, but backup Taylor Heinicke is unlikely to be a significant downgrade. The Commanders are still an underwhelming team that ranks 25th in overall efficiency, but they are only three points behind the Packers in that metric and about four points behind the Packers in my roster rankings, so this line is too high.
The Packers also struggle more than most teams do away from home, due to their dominant homefield advantage, with Aaron Rodgers’ QB rating dropping by 10 points on the road in his career, well above the average drop off for a quarterback on the road. My calculated line favors the Packers by just a point and it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if they lost this game outright, in part because they are in a bad spot, with a much tougher game against the Bills on deck next week.
Road favorites cover at just a 35.7% rate before facing an opponent with a winning percentage that is 50%+ higher than their current opponent and facing the 5-1 Bills after facing the 2-4 Commanders would qualify. Even if Washington can’t pull the upset, we have a good amount of points to work with, with about 35% of games being decided by 5 points or less, so I’m confident in Washington at +5. This is my top pick this week.
Washington Commanders 24 Green Bay Packers 23 Upset Pick +185
Pick against the spread: Washington +5
Confidence: Pick of the Week